This is a drawing I did for a theatrical performance called Project Runaway, based on the documented stories of runaway slaves and indentured servants in the early 1800's. The depiction we have here is of Captain Edward Dix of the British Royal Navy, captain of the HMS Menelaus.
A week before Christmas in 1814 the ship was docked in Baltimore harbor. That night the young William "Rolla" Ross, a 14 yr old slave of the Neths of Annapolis, fled for freedom - leaving behind his mother & family and boarding the England-bound Menelaus.
Not going unnoticed master Neth sought out the return of his "property". Upon his arrival Captain Edward Dix sternly and unquestionably refused to give up Rolla to Neth, standing his ground despite the Marylander's heated demands.
Later that evening the Menelaus set sail for England and, due to Rolla's bravery and the Captain's strong character, William "Rolla" Ross escaped forever the grasp of slavery.